Belfast Telegraph

A year to remember for Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

What a wonderful year 2015 was for Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland team. The records tumbled as they secured qualification for this summer's Euro 2016 finals in France. Here we take a look at some of the remarkable achievements.

1. After 13 attempts, Northern Ireland finally topped a European Championship qualifying group for the first time in their history.

2. Northern Ireland became the first fifth-seeded country in a European Championship qualifying campaign to ever win their respective group.

3. Gareth McAuley became his country's highest scoring defender, along with Gerry Taggart, after bagging a brace of goals in the 3-1 win in the Faroe Islands back in September.

4. Northern Ireland were the highest scoring country in their Euro 2016 qualifying group with a total of 16 goals, five more than their nearest rivals Romania and Hungary.

5. The sensational header by Josh Magennis against Greece when O'Neill's men qualified was the first time a Kilmarnock player had ever scored a senior goal for Northern Ireland.

6. For the first time ever in a calendar year, Northern Ireland managed to go eight consecutive International games without defeat.

7. Steven Davis joined the exalted company of Danny Blanchflower, Martin O'Neill and Sammy McIlroy in captaining his country to a major Championship.

8. Northern Ireland were unbeaten in five outings at Windsor Park during 2015 and for only the second time ever in 13 European Championship qualifying campaigns.

9. Michael O'Neill became only the third manager, alongside Peter Doherty and Billy Bingham, to guide his country to a major finals tournament.

10. Kyle Lafferty's seven goals in nine Group F games took his tally to 10 in European qualifiers, leaving him just three short of David Healy's record tally.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph